Conducting live Web programs isn’t anything new. Web conferencing became mainstream for healthcare professional education in the mid-to-late 2000s. However, even though the technology has advanced, many Web events don’t maximize existing opportunities for audience engagement. Below are five simple ways you can make your Web programs more impactful with your online audience.
1. Use live presenter video. Whether using a USB or built-in Web camera, actually showing the speaker presenting (vs audio only) can increase the attention level of the attendees. Learners feel the presenter is more “real” and more closely simulates a live face-to-face program experience.
2. Engage the audience through polling. Utilize your Web system’s polling function to quiz your audience, ask for opinions on a patient case study, or determine agreement with presented information. The results can be accessed right away and the speaker can respond appropriately. The responses can also be kept and analyzed (in aggregate) after all similar programs have occurred.
3. Maximize chat boxes for Q&A. Have a dedicated team member (other than the speaker) to collect, review, and provide vetted questions to the speaker to address. In some cases, certain questions may be asked more than once or some questions may not be appropriate to provide for public response. The team member may be able to reply immediately to logistical questions, reducing the time taken up in the Q&A session.
4. Use presenter pointers. Encourage the speaker to use the mouse to hover over, point out, or even highlight key content on the slide. This on-screen activity can make the slides more visually engaging and make it easier for a viewer to follow the discussion and focus on key points.
5. Provide supportive hyperlinks. Many systems allow hyperlinks to relevant documents to be shared or provided during the Web meeting. Consider supplying your audience with resources that could include prescribing information, white papers, or even a PDF copy of the slides.
With increased use and studies of online education, both technology companies and higher education institutions are investing significant time and money in finding additional ways to enhance the audience experience. As new solutions become available, it is important for the medical education industry to quickly adopt and utilize these new technologies.